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Oludara OgunbowaleOnce upon a time, there lived a sixteen year old boy named Stanley, the first son of a family of seven who lived in Awka, Anambra State of Nigeria. After his secondary education, it was expected of him as was the custom, to learn a trade so that he would become independent, and grow to become, not just a formidable business man, but also one to help his four other siblings with whatever they would become.

Just about a month after his secondary education, he was blessed by his parents and off they sent him to Lagos to learn the business of his distant Uncle; Dike had a thriving business as a wholesaler of a variety of brands; alcoholic and non- alcoholic beverages alike.

Dike had told him he would have to work for seven years after which he would be given a quantity of products commensurate with his time of service and proven business acumen.

Seven years was a whole long wait; Stanley was in his sixth year and he already had a knowledge of the business, the environment and the people who were the core of his uncle’s business. He could do some mapping off hand and he was sure that this was the kind of business he wanted to do. He admired his uncle a great deal but it had taken his uncle over 30 years to build that kind of ‘empire’, he knew he would not want to wait that long. He wanted more. He wanted to be a big business man playing alongside uncle Dike in the industry. Sometimes, he had these conversations with his ‘co-trainees’ and they always said he had lofty dreams. AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN

Anozie, a trainee who was just ‘settled’ by uncle already had started his business just three months ago. He bought a freezer and had begun selling in units also. But Stanley always thought that was ‘petty’. He did not want to sell in small units.

It was the last day of the seventh year in Uncle Dike’s large warehouse. Uncle Dike had helped him with his rent. No longer would he have to live with the other guys. It was a new beginning. He was going to get a kiosk with his little savings in a strategic point somewhere very far away from his uncle’s warehouse and from the nosy former colleagues and it was going to be a new start. He would make good use of the 100 crates given to him by his uncle to start his own. As far as he was concerned, he had not worked to earn the proceeds of the monetary value of the 100 crates. He had worked to earn the seed required to begin his new empire. He was so sure that everything was set. In at least a month, he would start making huge sales.

Or so he thought!

Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN

————————————————-Continues Next Week————————————————-

By Oludara Ogunbowale

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